Officials from the Federal and Manitoba governments have signed an agreement to develop new automated traffic management systems. Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Manitoba, on behalf of Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, along with Manitoba Transportation and Government Services Minister Ron Lemieux, announced the signing of two contribution agreements for the development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems that will benefit the province’s commercial transportation industry. Funding for the two agreements totals approximately $1.7 million and will be used primarily to develop and deploy a commercial vehicle permit automation system. Under the first agreement, the Governments of Canada and Manitoba will each contribute $405,435 toward the research and development of a commercial vehicle permit automation system that will efficiently generate required permits in one step. The system will also allow permit agents to determine a carrier’s safety fitness rating and compliance history, store statistical data, simplify reporting, and automatically calculate fees. Under the second agreement, the two governments will each contribute $451,750 to deploy the permit automation system as well as another Intelligent Transportation Systems project currently being finalized. “This research will make commercial vehicle permit systems more efficient,” said Mr. Alcock. “The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians and Manitobans alike find innovative ways to improve our transportation system and to implement new technologies.” Intelligent Transportation Systems consist of a broad range of technologies designed to make transportation safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. “The application of Intelligent Transportation Systems helps make Canada’s roads safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” said Mr. Lapierre. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment the Governments of Canada and Manitoba have made to improving Manitoba’s road networks.” “Truck transportation not only is responsible for some 33,000 person-years of direct or indirect employment throughout the province, but it also handles about 95 per cent of goods moved within Manitoba,” said Mr. Lemieux. “The federal support underscores the national economic importance of developing intelligent transportation systems and how crucial it is to our future ability to remain competitive in the North American and global transportation markets.” Federal funding will be provided under the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program, a $600 million program to improve highway infrastructure across Canada. Part of this funding $100 million is for initiatives that better integrate the country’s transportation system. One of these is the Intelligent Transportation Systems initiative, which includes applications such as advanced systems for traveller information, traffic management, public transport, commercial vehicle operations, emergency response management and vehicle safety. Funding for this program is provided for in the existing financial framework.